Road Trip: Day 37

Posted: September 3, 2016 by timjollymore in Uncategorized

Will  Sam Walton win Wadena?

This is a town currently of 4,032 people give or take that a hundred years ago was likely 100% farming. The railroad barrels through town six times a day coming and going, and the town is still working to overcome  w 7 the damage of a tornado storm that ripped its economic mooring before the 21st century turned.  Signs like the one for the theater are common along Jefferson Street and combined form a symbol for the city. My first father-in-law met the mother of his children here when he managed a night club north of the center just after World War II. Gold in the form of western grains and black gold in the form of coal pass through here without shedding much. Still the burg feels solid and seems content with its lot.

Back to may question. Do these four thousand people have something that Sam Walton’s ghost wants? Why is a “big box” in this town? What has happened to the local grocer and variety stores? If they are still here can they withstand an w 4onslaught from a behemoth? Well, I’ve never been to Walmart. Sometimes I think that pushing wages down is the company’s pride; I suppose they will have more customers for low cost items if folks can’t earn much.

w 5

“Bleed the middle class then sell them goods bought with their own blood,” some would say.  Good old Sam is not alone. Signs like this one tell the tale in big towns and small.

On  my morning walk, though, I found plenty of businesses  that looked to be locally conceived, owned and operated. Repair shops line the road north across from Sam’s place.

The local spirit and conviviality I found to be strong when I had the chance to talk with locals. So, Sam, you can join with the rest of the town, but you won’t be winning its heart.

The ever popular “cones, fish, pop” Fresh Freeze (a Wadena original), The Brookside (independent and local motel) where I stayed, the Weston-esque lavatory in my locally-remodeled room, the author in front of a Scamp trailer manufactures (for 50 years) in nearby Backus, and the author’s finger along with the family-bookstore picnic in the local downtown park. These people know how to picnic!

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